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Thread: So many questions before I take the plunge.

  1. #1
    n00b
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    So many questions before I take the plunge.

    Hello. I'm in the process of offloading my Elise race car with the intention of getting something quicker and more reliable. The Atom sprung to mind having a Honda engine.


    What is the general feeling about reliability and running costs with the Atom? I have had several engine rebuilds with my K series engined Elise. I don't want to offload one money pit to end up with another.

    Is there anyone on here competing in Sprint or hill climb events with there car? Just wanted an idea of how competitive a standard road car could be. Other than tyres and safety equipment, I wouldn't want to change the car much from factory standard.

    What is the availability of spares like? Is it as simple as phoning the factory and ordering them and do owners of earlier cars struggle to get parts?

    Are there any "If you buy one you really need to fit one of these if it hasn't had it already" upgrades or improvements to be done to the car?

  2. #2
    Neutron
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    Welcome! Are you located in the US or UK?

    I can share from having an Atom 2 with the GM ecotec engine made in the US. Overall running costs are minimal. I am still on my first set of brake pads 6 years in, my first set of tires lasted 10 track days and 5000 miles. Other than an oil change that was about it for maintenance. Then I dumped all the money into upgrades

    If you are going to be heavy into tracking the car, you are going to be using up more consumables of course and will need to replace rod ends and wheel bearings once in a while. Unless you will be doing heavy modifications to the engine, the Honda will be relatively bullet proof in these cars.

    Parts for us Atom 2 owners are sometimes difficult to come buy, but that's because of the limited amount of cars with the GM engine and having the US manufacturer change. But even then they have left over parts for us.

    But if you get a new car with the Honda you wont have any difficulty getting parts. in the US the factory is excellent. Same with getting parts from the factory in the UK.
    the high profile toy thrower

  3. #3
    Neutrino MadMaxAtom's Avatar
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    I thought the Elise used a Toyota motor..? Maybe yours is an older edition..? Anyhow..tracking a somewhat stock Atom is not too hard on the wallet once you get it set up. Consumables are tires and fuel,mainly...assuming you keep the engine output close to stock and keep the car on the track and don't hit anything..
    The power of an Atom is a terrible thing to waste! Atom owner/operator since 2007. The more you chase perfection,the faster it becomes. John Force for President! (I asked him once in person...he laughed)

  4. #4
    Lepton
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    Quote Originally Posted by elise135 View Post
    Hello. I'm in the process of offloading my Elise race car with the intention of getting something quicker and more reliable. The Atom sprung to mind having a Honda engine.


    What is the general feeling about reliability and running costs with the Atom? I have had several engine rebuilds with my K series engined Elise. I don't want to offload one money pit to end up with another.

    Is there anyone on here competing in Sprint or hill climb events with there car? Just wanted an idea of how competitive a standard road car could be. Other than tyres and safety equipment, I wouldn't want to change the car much from factory standard.

    What is the availability of spares like? Is it as simple as phoning the factory and ordering them and do owners of earlier cars struggle to get parts?

    Are there any "If you buy one you really need to fit one of these if it hasn't had it already" upgrades or improvements to be done to the car?
    Why the K series rebuilds? Oiling issues? Atom will have the same stresses on a K that a track Elise will have, but be easier on trannies, brakes, bearing, etc. If you are a serious tracker, an accusump is needed, and a dry sump is ideal.

    Jason
    2011 Ariel Atom Not Supercharged
    2006 Range Rover Sport Supercharged

  5. #5
    Electron Karl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Payne View Post
    Why the K series rebuilds? Oiling issues? Atom will have the same stresses on a K that a track Elise will have, but be easier on trannies, brakes, bearing, etc. If you are a serious tracker, an accusump is needed, and a dry sump is ideal.

    Jason
    I think elise135 was referring to the Rover K-series: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rover_K_engine
    The questions surrounding problems with the Rover K don't start with "Why", but rather, "When".
    300hp K20A | "It'll never go, my dears! Not if he's had anything to do with it."

  6. #6
    Lepton AtomJohnny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Karl View Post
    I think elise135 was referring to the Rover K-series: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rover_K_engine
    The questions surrounding problems with the Rover K don't start with "Why", but rather, "When".
    That's the one.... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rover_K_engine#1800 ...to be exact.

    Not used in the US model Elise due to emission regulations.

    The common failing of these engines is the head gasket.
    There is a fix that resolves the issue by replacing the original single gasket and plastic dowels with a multi-layer-steal gasket set and metal dowels.
    01100001 01110100 01101111 01101101 00110001

  7. #7
    n00b
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    Thanks for the great response.

    I'm UK based for now and would be looking for a UK honda engined car. I don't think my budget will stretch to a new car, was looking more towards a series 2 non supercharged model.
    So far I have spotted two in the UK classifieds that fall into my price range.

    I am currently scoping the installation of a tow bar on my 2011 Passat estate. Next step is looking for a trailer that I can fit into the garage. I believe that it is possible to get a trailer small enough to sit in an average garage that will take an Atom. I never managed any European track days in the Lotus. The Elise was never trusted to be reliable enough to make the journey.

    I would be keen to attempt another season in the Scottish Sprint Championship. I had a couple of class wins in the Lotus, it was a very quick car when it was running properly. I have still to look at what class the Atom would end up in. It may be totally outclassed by some of the "specials" it may end up competing against.

    Good to know the issues with oil surge on track, accusump or dry sump solution.

    Thanks again for the response.

    www.elise135.com

  8. #8
    Neutron
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    The good news is that you are closer to a factory than the vast majority of us in the US. Ariel will be excellent source of parts, maintenance and repairs. I doubt you could find a used rover-engined car now. Pretty much everything will be Honda.

    Ariel can do a full check on a used car as well after you purchase to make sure everything is up to date. Though from the point of view of someone who does all their own maintenance it can get a little expensive.

    I think if I was buying a used honda UK car, I'd replace the rod ends and consider the wheel bearings if the car has seen a lot of track time. And then do a oil change and call it good.

    Many have used a 2 wheel car trailer for towing.

    9AEFECCF-1006-46AB-C433-27D4A70FB6F9.jpg
    the high profile toy thrower

  9. #9
    n00b
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    Talking

    Quote Originally Posted by bolus View Post
    The good news is that you are closer to a factory than the vast majority of us in the US. Ariel will be excellent source of parts, maintenance and repairs. I doubt you could find a used rover-engined car now. Pretty much everything will be Honda.

    Ariel can do a full check on a used car as well after you purchase to make sure everything is up to date. Though from the point of view of someone who does all their own maintenance it can get a little expensive.

    I think if I was buying a used honda UK car, I'd replace the rod ends and consider the wheel bearings if the car has seen a lot of track time. And then do a oil change and call it good.

    Many have used a 2 wheel car trailer for towing.

    9AEFECCF-1006-46AB-C433-27D4A70FB6F9.jpg
    I am not sure on the legality of that type of trailer in the Uk. I've heard different answers from different people. That one above would be ideal though.

    So, rod ends. Wheel bearings. A full fluid change: oil, coolant, brake fluid and break pads (unless I can still see the exact type printed on the pad).
    I take it that the rod ends are generic readily available motorsport rod ends?

    Thanks again for the response. I should start posting the questions in the right sections at some point I suppose.

  10. #10
    Fermion
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    Cars here in UK start at about 22/23 for a honda powered car. If you contact Tom at the factory he will give you all the information you will need. Were in Uk are you? There are lots of information posted on doing track days on the web in the Atom and lots of Atoms on Utube

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